Preparing for unexpected incidents

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By Larry Asher Gulliford

After an unpredicted crisis such as the events of Sept. 11th, questions arise about whether more could have or should have been done to prevent the incident or alleviate the severity of the occurrence. Increasingly in American institutions and organizations, priority has been placed on the evaluation of emergency procedures such as where to and how to evacuate.

Glendale Community College is no different. The campus evacuation procedures and the availability of this information are issues that are of importantance to students, faculty and staff. In the event that a campus-wide evacuation was necessary, what are the evacuation procedures and specifically where would people be evacuated to?

General evacuation information is readily accessible to all.

“Every telephone on campus in offices or in classrooms has a (red and white spiral bound) quick reference emergency guide,” says Debra Palok, campus safety director.

The same information available on the College Safety website states that “when evacuation is necessary, a general alarm will be activated and all persons must leave classrooms and offices and remain at least 50 feet from any building.” It asks “that people do not evacuate to, or congregate in parking lots” since these will provide routes for emergency vehicles.

If an emergency occurred on campus of a scale large enough to require the “mass evacuation of the entire campus or many buildings, then people would be congregating in the (football) stadium”,says Palok. The stadium has been designated by the GCC Safety Department as a college Evacuation Center. However, this information has not yet been made publicly available in the quick reference guide or on the GCC website. A 32 page GCC Emergency Response Plan which is available upon request makes the only written mention of the evacuation sites. Palok suggested that there are plans to put larger sections of the Emergency Response Plan on the College Safety website.

“The information we have on our website it’s good information but possibly people want more information,” acknowledged Regis Della-Calce, director of college business services. Because of time concerns, Della-Calce says that taking time in classes to review evacuation procedures is difficult and inconvenient, so “to have a campus safety day,” may be the best way for students to learn more about emergency procedures.